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Constitutionalist Christian Monsod fact-checks Rep. Rodante Marcoleta on franchise limit

Lawyer Christian Monsod said Marcoleta made a mistake in citing a constitutional provision and interpretation of it.

Former COMELEC Chairman and one of the framers of the 1987 constitution has fact-checked Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta on the issue of franchise limit.

According to Monsod, the lawmaker not only used the wrong provision but also the wrong interpretation of the said provision.

“Not only did he cite the wrong provision, but he also had a wrong interpretation of the wrong provision,” said Monsod.

Marcoleta during his opening statement on the committee hearing for the ABS-CBN franchise has alleged that the Kapamilya network should not be given a license because there’s a constitutional limit to the legislative franchise which is only up to 50 years.

Marcoleta argued that ABS-CBN already reached the limit being in the broadcasting industry for more than 50 years.

The Sagip Partylist Rep referred to Article XII, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution, which limits the duration of a franchise given to a public utility to no longer than 50 years.

Art. XII, 1987 Constitution: Sec. 11. No franchise, certificate, or any other form of authorization for the operation of a public utility shall be granted except to citizens of the Philippines or to corporations or associations organized under the laws of the Philippines at least sixty per centum of whose capital is owned by such citizens, nor shall such franchise, certificate or authorization be exclusive in character or for a longer period than fifty years.

Monsod, however, said that provision applies to public utility companies, not broadcast media.

“That section applies to a public utility and I don’t think media is a public utility,” Monsod said.

In March, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill limiting the definition of public utility to power transmission and distribution, water distribution and sewage collection.

Meanwhile, for the sake of discussion Monsod said even if broadcast media qualifies as public utility there’s no provision in the constitution that prohibits a company to renew for another 50 years.

“They’re allowed to renew for another 50 years,” he said

“As you can see around us, there are public utilities that have existed for a long time,” he added.


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